Funding Solutions to Homelessness: Our City, Our Home
After months of meetings, planning, and negotiations, the OCOH Committee formally adopted an Investment Plan with recommendations for over $1.3B from projected funding over three fiscal years. We’ve taken you through the process with our blog series, Prop C 101, and this post highlights the recommendations that can be put into place pending approval from the Mayor and Board of Supervisors.
Even more important than the eye-popping dollar amount is the impact that these recommendations will have in our city. The OCOH recommendations are not about making changes at the margins. They are intended to begin a transformation of our homelessness response system:from a system where demand always outpaces supply, resulting in an inflexible one size fits all approach, to a system that offers our unhoused neighbors not just a path out of homelessness but a path toward greater stability, health, and dignity.
CENTERING EQUITY AND JUSTICE
The Investment Plan centers equity and justice considerations so we can begin to address the overrepresentation of specific populations or outsized barriers facing unhoused people.
A few notable recommendations:
- Behavioral health services designed for transgender people
- A particular focus on people with criminal justice histories because they face the highest barriers to employment and housing
- Increased resources for survivors of domestic violence, pregnant women, and families with young children
A FOCUS ON PERMANENT SOLUTIONS
The Committee’s strategic recommendations also create greater flow within our system so that more people exit homelessness for good instead of experiencing the revolving door of shelter to streets and back to shelter.
A few notable recommendations:
- For every shelter bed funded, the Committee recommended funding for three permanent beds.
- Workforce subsidies to go along with every funded medium term rental subsidy so that people can build skills that allow them to become self-sufficient.
- A historic investment in prevention so that fewer people experience the trauma of homelessness in the first instance. In fact, estimates show that the recommendations could prevent over 7,000 people from becoming homeless over the next two years.
By any measure, these recommendations are game-changers for San Francisco. They deliver on the promise made to the voters in 2018 to fund strategies that will reduce the crisis of unsheltered homelessness.
The Investment Plan sets ambitious targets that bring us close to making the full vision of the Prop C legislation a reality. For example, the legislation promised to provide enough funding to house and provide behavioral health services to 4,500 people and this investment plan, which will be supplemented over time, provides funds to house and care for over 3,300 people. Likewise, Prop C envisioned adding 1,000 shelter beds to our homelessness response system and preventing 7000 people from becoming homeless, and this Investment Plan actually exceeds both of those goals.
Of course, these are only recommendations. It is up to the Mayor and Board of Supervisors to include these recommendations in the city’s budget. Then the onus falls on each of us to hold the city accountable to implementing these recommendations and delivering on the anticipated outcomes laid out above.
At All In, we will do our part by closely tracking the spending and outcomes, providing the transparency and access needed so we can collectively hold the city accountable. We will celebrate the accomplishments, but we won’t be shy to speak up if we conclude that the city is falling short. We will share updates with you so that you can join the chorus calling for real and sustainable change.
And it starts on June 16 with our event Our City, Our Home, Our Time – A Conversation about Prop C recommendations.
Our conversation will be led by Erin Baldassari, who covers housing for KQED, and she’ll be joined by panelists who are on the forefront of this work: Brett Andrews (CEO of PRC), Jennifer Friedenbach (Executive Director of the Coalition on Homelessness), and Chris Block (Director of the Office of Housing Opportunities of SF).
This is a unique opportunity to have direct access to leaders and experts in our city as they discuss this pivotal moment for solutions to homelessness. We’ll see you there.